Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dad

I don’t often write too many personal things on here; a lot of random thoughts and stories, sure, but 
nothing uber personal.

We are about to get personal, ready?

My dad is not someone who I have mentioned on here often; hardly at all actually.  But growing up he was a huge influence in my life, in a lot of positive ways. He supported and encouraged me, and is a large part of the reason I chose to pursue becoming a college athlete, and have continued to push myself in life afterwards.

I spy Jane hiding in the background
A bit over a year ago now my dad was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s. In short, it’s a more aggressive form of Alzheimer’s that people are diagnosed with before the age of 65. My dad just turned 59 about a week ago, and when diagnosed it was estimated that he may have had the disease for up to eight years at that point.

Equally difficult to watching my dad lose his memory and becoming increasingly confused has been trying to be there for my mom, as her role shifted from wife to full-time caretaker when she is home. On top of working a full-time job.

my amazing mom
The disease is staggering and life shattering, and it’s been especially hard trying to figure out how to be a support piece to my family halfway across the country. My mom’s family and dad’s sister have been amazing thus far through the battle, and I’m forever grateful for them. I’m also extremely grateful for Without Warning, a support group through Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. 

The center is one of 27 Alzheimer’s disease research centers across the country designated and funded by the National Institute on Aging. My mom attends the group on a monthly basis and it has helped her immensely through the struggle, reminding her that she is not alone in this, while receiving support and suggestions from other families going through similar experiences.

Since Younger Onset Alzheimer's is such an unknown disease, there are few resources out there around education and awareness. Recently, Without Warning launched plans to produce a special documentary and companion website with the goal of reaching a national audience and making it not so unknown.

So, just like the ALS movement, I’m asking that you give to this cause if you feel prompted to. They need to raise $80,000 to produce the documentary, which in the grand scheme of things shouldn't be hard to make happen, right? I’m not good at asking for money, or putting super personal things out here like this. But I owe it to my parents, my family, and everyone suffering. There is nothing fun related to this donation cause – I mean I guess if you want to dump ice water on your head, that’s cool, I dig that.  I don’t really care what you do; to be honest if you made it this far into the post I’m pretty happy that you’re at least aware. Now if you donate, that’s an extra cherry on top knowing that you’re helping out my family in an awesome way. 

Thanks for reading, and hearing me out.  I tried to keep the emotional throw-up to a minimum, but it’s by far the hardest thing my family has faced, and I could go on about it forever… but we’ll leave it at this.

Thanks Guys - 


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